Discuss, debate, decide
Zoning the topic of discussion along the Granville Road
Residents of Granville Ferry and down the road past Port Royal are talking about zoning these days and Annapolis County is stepping back to let them discuss, debate, and decide what sort of regulations they want in place – if any.
Originally residents under the umbrella of the Granville Road Ratepayers Association had brought concerns to municipal council after a close call with a fish farm moving to the area. That group had a vision to protect the oldest road in Canada from haphazard development that could jeopardize the historical nature of the Annapolis Basin’s northern shoreline.
At the time they were told any discussion would have to include all residents of the area so other visions might also be considered – and under provisions of the Municipal Government Act council could not be involved in those talks.
That was more than a year ago, but with guidance from county planner Albert Dunphy, progress has been made and the new Granville Road Area Advisory Committee held its first meeting on Sept. 24 of this year.
Nancy Smith of Port Wade chairs the group with a proposed planning area from the brow of the North Mountain to the Annapolis River and from Mills Mountain Road west on the Granville Road to Victoria Beach.
At the Sept. 24 meeting Dunphy provided background on land use and planning including explanations on Municipal Planning Strategies and Land-Use Bylaws. The committee was tasked with deciding if it wants a MPS and LUB, and if so, what areas of the proposed planning area have a majority of inhabitants who what it.
Wayne Currie with the Granville Road Ratepayers Association said his group supports a planning strategy and land-use bylaws for all of Granville Road, but said the group agrees with municipal council that there are diverse communities along the stretch of road.
“So, in our opinion, land use planning areas should be determined by community identity, that is, people’s shared values, the area’s history, and agreement on its best use by the majority of inhabitants,” Currie said in an update to the ratepayers group.
He referred to a survey done by a community group from Mills Mountain Road to the Habitation that went door-to-door with 83.5 per cent of residents signing the survey that made three statements:
- I want to protect our community’s beauty and history, quality of life, property values and encourage family farming, small business (home-based) and tourism.
- I don’t want land use that would have a negative impact on our community. This would in- clude industries such as commercial water/mineral extraction and factory farms.
- I support land use planning to accomplish this.
Currie said the MGA gives municipalities flexibility in how to implement land use planning.
“We believe the most expeditious way of having this discussion is for the committee to listen to each of these communities, one at a time, to determine if it wants to use land use planning,” Currie said. “The Habitation Community, having spoken, would be the first, serving as a pilot for other areas.”
Annapolis County’s CAO John Ferguson said the county doesn’t interfere with the local advisory committee.
“They have their meetings, they get to where they want to make a recommendation to council, and they’ll be making one of two recommendations: either that they want to move towards zoning or not,” said Ferguson. “They’ll come to that point and make that recommendation and council then deals with that recommendation when it comes forward.”
“So, in our opinion, land use planning areas should be determined by community identity, that is, people’s shared values, the area’s history, and agreement on its best use by the majority of inhabitants.”
— Wayne Currie, Granville Road Ratepayers Association